Labor Day Weekend may signify the end of summer for most, but it has also cemented itself as the beginning of the glorious fantasy football season for fantasy managers everywhere. Through various offseason ADP variance and some unfortunate preseason injuries, value really tends to be narrowed down at the start of September. However, there are still some wildly underrated players each year that fantasy participants hope to snag up at an amazing discount during their drafts. Here are some 2021 fantasy football wide receiver values for the fantasy football season.
Best 2021 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Draft Values
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
As the second wide receiver selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, Jerry Jeudy had a less-than-memorable rookie year in a quarterback-needy Denver Broncos offense. With a drop rate of 17.6%, the highest among receivers with at least 100 targets, the stigma around his play was not well received during his opening stint in the NFL. And with emerging receiver Courtland Sutton returning from injury this season, what makes Jeudy’s value one to be excited about in fantasy drafts in 2021?
To start, Jeudy’s season was not all bad. The drops are what overshadows most of his rookie campaign. However, considering the offense he was in, it could have been much worse. A few things to consider: first, although he had 12 drops on the season (second-most in the league), five of them came in one game. While that outlier cannot be removed from the equation, it was just that: an outlier. Second, the quarterback situation was an enormous factor in his stats last year as well. With now-backup quarterback Drew Lock at the helm in 2020, ‘erratic’ is a nice term to describe the style of play Jeudy received out of his signal caller. Only 65% of Jeudy’s targets last year were deemed catchable; that was the fifth fewest amongst receivers with more than 50 targets. With newly acquired Teddy Bridgewater seeing the field to start off 2021, expect more consistent, accurate quarterback play to truly help this young receiver flourish.
Many will argue that this Denver offense cannot sustain multiple fantasy pass catchers with Bridgewater taking the snaps. But last year the Carolina Panthers Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel were all top-25 wide receivers under Bridgewater’s command. To top it off, Bridgewater ranked 9th last year in catchable passes. Between Jeudy’s impeccable route running and footwork, along with his ability to make things happen with the ball in his hands (his 16.5 yards per reception rate was third highest among wide receivers with 50 or more receptions), he has incredible second-year breakout potential with his WR27 ADP (according to Fantasy Football Calculator), which has only been rising as of late.
Jerry Jeudy played ~33% in the slot last year for DEN. Went 52/110-856-3.
Denver’s new starting QB is Teddy Bridgewater. In CAR, Robby Anderson played ~33% in the slot and went 95/134-1096-3.
Teddy manufactured a career high 70.9% catch rate for RA.
— Bradley Stalder (@FFStalder) August 31, 2021
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
All of the hype this off-season has been surrounding fifth overall draft pick Ja’Marr Chase reuniting with former college quarterback Joe Burrow on the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021. There has also been talk about the amazing, yet underrated rookie season Tee Higgins had in 2020 and how he is set for an even bigger year this time around. But what about the third, often-forgotten receiver in this tantalizing passing offense?
Tyler Boyd is arguably one of the best values going into the 2021 season. Acting primarily out of the slot, Boyd has been one of the most reliable receivers for the Bengals the past three seasons. With the other names getting most of the attention, Boyd is often being forgotten in regards to his phenomenal production on the field. The Bengals sixth-year receiver has accumulated over 100 targets and 75 receptions in each of his past three seasons, and over 1000 yards receiving two out of three of those years. Not only that, but he has shown he is an incredible security blanket for Burrow; especially when the rush is on due to Cincinnati’s weak offensive line.
Before Burrow went down with his season-ending knee injury in Week 11, Boyd was the WR17 in half-PPR formats, including five, top-15 performances during those ten games. Something else to note is that A.J. Green, former long-time Bengals wideout, had over 100 targets last season; so for the doubters that say there will not be enough passes to go around, this is an offense that can sustain a handful of fantasy-relevant pass-catchers. While his yardage and touchdown totals regressed slightly last year, expect him to jump right back into the mis-match role in the slot and watch his numbers flourish. Currently being drafted as WR38, with an overall ADP of 94 (according to Fantasy Football Calculator), look for Boyd to be an absolute must-have in later rounds in fantasy drafts as he should outperform the likes of Deebo Samuel, D.J. Chark, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who are other receivers going in the same general areas of draft; but with way less upside and consistency than that of the Bengals reliable wideout.
Tyler Boyd slot stats since 2019:
🔸126 catches (T-2nd)
🔸1,515 yards (1st)
🔸31 catches of 15+ yards (T-1st) pic.twitter.com/ME8BA60ptn
— PFF (@PFF) April 23, 2021
Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears
Digging down even deeper into the list of value wide receivers is the currently 46th ranked one (according to Fantasy Football Calculator) in Darnell Mooney. The Chicago Bears second-year pass-catcher, who’s value continues to rise after his continuous repertoire-building with future-Bears starting quarterback, Justin Fields, is somehow still flying under the radar when it comes to fantasy drafts in 2021.
Unlike the other two receivers on this list, there is not a crowded room of ball handlers looking to take away his target share. While Allen Robinson is one of the ultimate underrated WR1s in the game, there are still plenty of targets to go around in a Bears offense that needs to have more production out of the quarterback position this season to take them over the hump of mediocrity. Whether that comes from their Week 1 starter in Andy Dalton, or their future franchise quarterback in Fields, the person throwing Mooney the ball in his second year in the NFL will be a step up from what he experienced last season. While finishing just outside the top 50 wideouts in fantasy points scored last year (WR51), he still hauled in 61 of 98 targets, which were both still good for 36th-best for wide receivers. Topping that off with 631 yards and four touchdowns in only half of the regular season as a legitimate starter opposite Robinson, the Bears have uncovered a true diamond in the rough with their late fifth-round draft pick.
Between his incredible playmaking abilities, the plethora of targets available in that offense, as well as the incredible potential to elevate his game even further once Fields becomes the starter, look for Mooney to be one of the best fantasy steals of the 2021 fantasy football wide receiver class. He is draftable with a late-round pick.
rookie Darnell Mooney didn't become a full time starter until Week 8 last year
44% of his targets were 10+ yards downfield…
but only 45% were catchable (#2 worst)
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 26, 2021
Main Image: Embed from Getty Images